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Impacts of Untreated Hearing Loss

Many people are aware they’re suffering from hearing loss, but find it difficult to get help. Those who have been diagnosed with hearing loss wait, on average, seven years before seeking treatment. The reasons for waiting can vary; some are frustrated by hearing loss, believing it to be a sign of aging. Others think their condition isn’t that severe or may not even realize they have hearing problems.

Unfortunately, allowing hearing loss to remain untreated can lead to some serious consequences. The most recent studies highlight the social, psychological, cognitive and health effects of untreated hearing loss. These effects can vary as well, but all have serious impacts on your quality of life. 

 

Emotional and Social Impacts of Untreated Hearing Loss

Studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a number of emotional health conditions, including:

  • Irritability, negativism and anger
  • Fatigue, tension, stress and depression
  • Avoidance or withdrawal from social situations
  • Social rejection and loneliness
  • Reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety 

When you have hearing loss, you may experience difficulty following conversations in a group setting. Due to this problem, you’re more likely to socially withdraw from visits with friends and family, which, over time, leads to depression and anxiety. The prospect of being immersed in a work meeting or large gathering, where numerous conversations will occur, can leave you feeling anxious.

Increased Risk of Dementia and Alzeimer's Disease

In addition to the impacts on your emotional wellbeing, untreated hearing loss can also affect your cognitive health. When your ability to hear declines, your brain receives less stimulation than it typically would because it’s not working to identify different sounds and nuances. Over time, this lack of exercise for your brain can lead to memory loss or even dementia. Think of your brain in the same way you think of your body; if you work out the different muscle groups of your body, you remain overall healthy. However, if you instead only focused on one specific area, the other parts of your body become weaker. This is how untreated hearing loss impacts your brain. The portion of your brain responsible for transmitting sound becomes weaker, making memory loss more likely.

Additional Consequences of Untreated Hearing Loss

Increased Risk of Falling:  People with impaired hearing do not have a good awareness of their overall envirnment, which makes them more likely to trip or fall.  Even a mild hearing loss increases the risk of falling 3 times over those with no hearing loss.  The risk increases as the hearing loss increases.  

Loss of Income: It is estimated that a billion dollars each year is lost by Americans who ignore thier hearing loss.  Gettingh hearing aidfs can cut that number in half

Loss of Ability to Understand Speech:   Use of hearing aids helps to protect from losing teh ability to understand speech clearly

Benefits of wearing a hearing aid

Treating your hearing loss is the first step toward a healthier, happier life. Wearing a hearing aid can enrich your life and reopen many doors that may have closed for you over the years. Other benefits of treating your hearing loss with hearing aids include:

  • Hearing your grandchild’s first words
  • Hearing nature again
  • Feeling safer in cities 
  • Attending dinners in noisy environments
  • Enjoying parties and understanding conversation

How to get help

Hearing loss isn’t age-specific; it can affect everyone, from babies to adults. The best way to know how to get help is to schedule an appointment with our audiologist.  Dr. Polcari will be able to help determine the type and degree of hearing loss you have. From there, we will be able to develop a treatment plan that can help you begin to live a happier, more fulfilled life.

If you think you or a loved one suffers from hearing loss, don't delay another day. Visit Wake Advanced Hearing Care and take the first step toward a world of better hearing.